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Israel to release cancer detainee

Aug. 22, 2011 2:40 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 5, 2011 1:44 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities said they will release a Palestinian detainee suffering from cancer, his family said Monday.

Zakariyya Dawood Issa, from Al-Khader near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, is in a critical condition after cancer spread throughout his body, medics say.

The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs said they will bring a lawsuit against Israeli authorities for delaying his medical treatment and thus precipitating a deterioration in his condition.

The family was informed that an Israeli discharge committee had agreed Zakariyya's release, Issa's brother told Ma'an on Monday.

Yahya Dawood Issa said the family is preparing to welcome him at home, before taking him to Beit Jala hospital.

"The family is waiting impatiently to see Zakariyya and get assurance about his condition, especially after his recent deterioration which caused the Israeli prison service to refer him to Beersheba prison hospital," Issa's brother said.

Zakariyya has three daughters and one son: Wisal, 20, Malak, 14, Dalal, 13, and Ahmad 19.

Ahmad Al-Beitawi, a researcher for International Solidarity for Human Rights, said the early discharge came after ISHR's lawyer submitted the request to the committee, the fruit of joint efforts between the organization and the prisoners' ministry.

Al-Beitawi said Issa is expected to be released Monday after coordination with the Palestinian ministry of prisoners affairs and a medical team, who will examine him and refer him to hospital.

"Such a decision by Israeli occupation [authorities] is not a favor, but rather a right guaranteed by international law," he said.

"The Israeli prison service also tries to avoid Palestinian prisoners dying in custody, to maintain a good image and to avoid prisoners’ reaction" he added.

Zakariyya Dawood Issa was detained on February 10, 2003 and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment, charged with being an activist for Islamist party, and now-Gaza Strip government leaders, Hamas.
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